Unless something drastic happens between now and the end of November, Harry Bates will be the 2019 Australian Rally Champion, and there couldn't be a more deserving winner.
The 24-year old Canberra driver is on track to complete the perfect season, having already won all four ARC rounds this year. It's hard to see him being beaten in the final two either.
Showing maturity beyond his years, Bates is clearly the class of the field and is putting together a season of total dominance.
It's a cheap shot to say that the older of the Bates brothers has the best car and the best team behind him. While both may be true, that should take nothing away from his results this year.
The Eureka Rush in Ballarat was the perfect example. Brand new stages in a brand new area, with tricky road conditions and new pace notes to be written.
Through it all, Harry Bates reigned supreme and was uncatchable.
Like a good rally driver, his only indiscretion came at the pre-event test. His Yaris AP4 hit a large water puddle which snapped the car sideways and into a tree.
It gave the Toyota mechanics plenty of work before the rally began, but Bates wasn't going to make that mistake twice, and he dominated the rally from start to finish.
As reported previously on RallySport Magazine, Bates is targeting either the Junior WRC or the WRC2 category next year, and we should all get behind him to ensure that dream becomes a reality.
Several hundred thousand dollars is needed for a serious JWRC campaign, but it's a dream worth chasing.
Harry Bates could be the next Hayden Paddon, the next Chris Atkinson, the next big thing from Down Under.
He may not be too, but unless we get behind him and ensure his dream becomes a reality, we'll never know.
Harry Bates has won all four rounds of the ARC this year, including yesterday in Victoria. Photo: Peter Whitten
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